Flowers from 9th April

Spring flowers grown in my garden and plot using an organic approach (supplemented this week by other British flowers) are available to order now. Delivery is free within 5 miles of Oxford with a small charge for longer, but local distances. A minimum order of £5.00 applies.

Orders can be delivered from 9th to 11th April.

Email your order or any queries to: thedevelopingplot@gmail.com

Early April Bouquet

Small Jar of Spring flowers: £6.00

Large jar of Spring flowers: £10.00 (at least 20 stems)

Bouquets from £15 – £25.00

Arrange your own flowers (at least 50 stems): £20.00 upwards

Homesown is then on holiday for a week and will be back with plants and flowers from Friday, April 23rd.

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Easter Holiday

Homesown is on a short break this week waiting for the next group of plants to fill their pots. Also taking time to tend the tomatoes which are gradually filling the greenhouse and will be ready to leave in a month or so.

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter and hoping you have the chance to have garden meet ups in the sun.

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Flowers Again and some Small Plants

Spring bunches and bouquets are available again this weekend and can be delivered from Friday 26th March onwards. There are hellebores, tulips, daffodils/narcissi, anemones and the first ranunculus among other lovely seasonal flowers. If you would like to order flowers or any of the plants below, contact me by email. Payment can be made by BACS or cash.

Email: thedevelopingplot@gmail.com

Delivery is free within 6 miles of Oxford with a minimum order of £5.00

Flowers

A bouquet delivered this week

The flowers are grown in my garden and plot, but are supplemented for the next few weeks with other local and British flowers.

Jars of flowers: £6.00 and £10.00

Bunches and bouquets: £15.00, £20.00 and £25.00

Annuals

As well as the last of the sweetpeas in 9cm pots, there are also some 7cm pots of hardy annuals available at £1.00 each. Roots are just poking out of the bottoms of the pots and they have been hardened off by being outside for weeks.

What’s available:

White Corncockle (Agrostemma githago Ocean Pearl) Hardy Annual: a beautifully graceful cottage garden plant. Its milky white flowers have lovely grey speckles in their throat. Gives airy movement in the garden and makes a wonderful cut flower. Can grow up to 18 inches. Enjoys sun. Be aware that all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested. Can tolerate low temperatures.

Orlaya Grandiflora grown from home gathered seed: a delicate lace-flowered umbellifer which is loved by pollinating insects. Can grow over 18 inches in the right conditions – it enjoys sun. May need support in windy positions. As well as being a lovely garden plant, it makes a great cut flower.

Calendula Geolights: A very pretty, tall variety of the reliable and generously flowering calendula family. It has apricot/peach petals with an attractive rusty back; the flower has a lovely brown centre and strong stems which makes it great for cutting. Plants should be planted 9 to 12 inches apart. Enjoys sun, but can tolerate part shade.

Calendula Indian Prince: a glamorous and reliable variety of marigold with bright orange petals with crimson backs. Edible and makes a great addition to a salad.

Calendula Snow Princess: another very pretty variety with almost white petals.

Perennials

Campanula Persicifolia Blue Bells: a truly lovely blue bellflower with graceful stems that grow from a mound of low growing leaves. Loved by butterflies and bees. A cottage garden favourite and a wonderful cut flower too. £2.50 a 9cm pot. £2.00 a 7cm pot

Foxglove Lutea: a perennial foxglove with creamy/primrose yellow flowers loved by pollinating insects. Its delicate bells are very attractive and it bulks up year on year. Great for cutting too, it likes shade to semi shade in well drained soil, but will grow in sun too. It reaches 60 cm. Small 7cm pots available now for £1.50 and larger plants in a few weeks time. A reminder that foxgloves are poisonous if ingested.

Scented Pelargonium, Attar of Roses: just potted on into old terracotta pots, these will need to be kept indoors or under cover until after the last frosts. The leaves are beautifully scented and the flowers are a lovely lavender pink. Can be used for to make teas and cordials. Feed regularly once it starts to flower – seaweed solution or dilute tomato feed each time you water will keep it flowering vigorously. It will grow into a large plant. £4.50 a pot

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Spring Break

Homesown is taking a break for a week or so while I get back to the plot and the allotment and let the ranunculus and tulips come into bloom. The perennials also need some time to grow while the tomatoes, aubergines and chillies are only just getting started. Hope you get to enjoy some gardening too.

Some of last Sunday’s bunches
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Flowers, Plants & Seeds: What’s Available(March 10th onwards).

Despite the recent chill the increasing light is getting everything growing more quickly. Now as well as some annuals, there are also some perennials filling their pots. If you are interested in ordering any of the flowers and plants below, just email me and they can be delivered free to your door if you live within 6 miles of Oxford (with a minimum order of £5). Payment can be made via BACS or cash.

thedevelopingplot@gmail.com

Flowers

Flower orders can be made up to Saturday before midday. Narcissi, hellebores, anemones, tulips, Spring Snowflakes, daffodils and Spring blossom will be some of flowers included in each jam jar/bunch/bouquet.

The flowers are mainly grown in my garden and plot, but are supplemented for the next few weeks with other local and British flowers.

Jars of flowers: £6.00 and £10.00

Bunches and bouquets: £15.00, £20.00 and £25.00

HardyAnnuals:

A lovely unfussy plant which gently and reliably self seeds. A pretty filler in the border and the vase, its attractive, purple bell-like flowers are a magnet for bees and other pollinators. It has silver grey/green leaves which often have a blue wash. It flowers early and long. Space plants 12″ apart. Enjoys sun, but flowers well in part shade too as well tolerates clay soil. Grown from seeds gathered from my plot. Plants have been hardened off and can be put in the garden now. £1.50 a 9cm pot

These are grown from seeds saved from the plot from a selection of my favourite varieties chosen for their amazing scent and colour. The seedlings tolerate down to -5 so once they germinated, they were left outside to harden up. If the weather is particularly brutal, they might need a little protection. Prepare the soil to help water retention and plant out from start of March when weather is hospitable. Plant each pot around 8″ apart. Sweetpeas like to be well watered and prefer sun. They will need support to clamber up and regular picking to keep them flowering. They are the most generous of flowering annuals, but do need quite a lot of attention. I think it is worth it for the scent alone. £1.00 a 9cm pot of 2 seedlings.

Named Sweetpea Varieties

Perennials:

There will be more of the currently sold out varieties available in a few weeks.

Linaria Canon Went: a delicate pink toadflax which is long flowering with spires that are a magnet for butterflies and bees. It prefers well drained soil in sun and has a clump forming habit. These plants were started last year and have been completely hardened off outside over Winter. Their roots are just reaching the bottom of their pots. Plants can grow to roughly 75cm and should be planted at least 30 cm apart. £3.00 a 9cm pot – £3.50 for 12 cm pot.

Linaria Peachy: another lovely linaria similar in habit to Canon Went with attractive apricot/peachy spires which are also nectar rich. £3.00 a 9cm pot – £3.50 for a 12cm pot.

Geum Totally Tangerine: an all time favourite for the front of the border. Its flowers are prolific from Spring and it often has a second flush of flowers later in the season – beautiful orange/apricot flowers on dancing stems. It enjoys most positions and soil types including partial shade and clay, though it doesn’t like to be water logged in Winter. Tends to be evergreen in my garden. Flowers are great for cutting too and can grow to around 75 cm but stay shorter in my clay soil. £3.50 a 12cm pot.

Campanula persicifolia: a truly lovely blue bellflower with graceful stems that grow from a mound of low growing leaves. Loved by butterflies and bees. A cottage garden favourite and a wonderful cut flower too. £2.50 a 9cm pot.

Hardy Geranium Bill Wallis:one of the most cheerful and tough plants in my garden. It thrives in all sorts of conditions and gently self seeds. Its pretty purple flowers are long lasting and give a lovely cottage garden feel. Good for the front of a border or filling in the gaps. £2.50 a 9cm pot and £3.00 a 12cm pot.

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March & Hints of Spring

After some lovely, sunny days, there are more early flowers starting to bloom and some pots of bulbs and hardy annuals ready to be planted out. Also, now that there is more light, it is the time to start sowing some seeds. Take a look at the Seed page – new seeds being added regularly.

Please send any orders to the email below and, if you live within 5 miles of Oxford, they can be delivered free to your door. (Minimum orders of £5.00). Payment can be arranged via BACS or cash/cheque.

thedevelopingplot@gmail.com

Flowers

It feels very cheering that there are flowers ready to order for delivery this week and next. (Pre-orders for Mothers’ Day can also be made from now up to Friday, March 12th). Narcissi, hellebores, anemones, tulips, Spring Snowflakes, daffodils and Spring blossom will be some of flowers included in each jam jar/bunch/bouquet.

The flowers are mainly grown in my garden and plot, but are supplemented for the next few weeks with other local and British flowers.

Bulbs in Pots

Scilla Litardierei in 9cm pots with flower shoots just breaking the surface. A truly lovely miniature bulb with star shaped blue flowers. Ideal for containers or can be planted in ground to increase year on year. Grows to around 10cm. £1.50 a pot

Scilla Bifolia in 9cm pots ready to be planted into pots, window boxes or into the garden. Their beautiful violet blue flower buds are just poking through and so will give interest for weeks to come. They will grow to about 15cm and if planted in the garden will naturalise. £1.50 a pot

Puschkinia Libanotica or Russian Snowdrop beautiful white flowers with a pale blue silvery blush. As with the scillas, this can be planted in containers or the garden now. The shoots are just breaking the surface giving a long time of interest. Likes well drained soil in full sun or partial shade and grows to around 20cm. £1.50 a pot

Anemone Blanda blue a 12cm terracotta pot filled with corms and the cheerful flowers are just breaking the surface. Would make a good gift. Can be planted in to the garden now in sun or partial shade or after flowering. Will naturalise and cheer up future Springs. Grows to around 15cm. £5.00 a pot

Rununculus in 9cm pots grown over Winter. These are quite tricky to grow, but once developed into a small plant, just need protecting from the weather. Can be planted 3 into a 15 litre container or into well drained soil which has sun. When flower buds show feed weekly with a liquid fertiliser such as tomorite or seaweed. Once flowered, wait until the foliage has died down and save corms for next Autumn or early Spring. Mixed colours £2.00 a pot

Hardy Annuals

Cerinthe Major

A lovely unfussy plant which gently and reliably self seeds. A pretty filler in the border and the vase, its attractive, purple bell-like flowers are a magnet for bees and other pollinators. It has silver grey/green leaves which often have a blue wash. It flowers early and long. Space plants 12″ apart. Enjoys sun, but flowers well in part shade too as well tolerates clay soil. Grown from seeds gathered from my plot. Plants have been hardened off and can be put in the garden now. £1.50 a pot

Homesown Fragrant Sweetpea Mix

These are grown from seeds saved from the plot from a selection of my favourite varieties chosen for their amazing scent and colour. The seedlings tolerate down to -5 so once they germinated, they were left outside to harden up. If the weather is particularly brutal, they might need a little protection. Prepare the soil to help water retention and plant out from start of March when weather is hospitable. Plant each pot around 8″ apart. Sweetpeas like to be well watered and prefer sun. They will need support to clamber up and regular picking to keep them flowering. They are the most generous of flowering annuals, but do need quite a lot of attention. I think it is worth it for the scent alone. £1.00 a pot of 2 seedlings.

Named Sweetpea Varieties

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Going to Seed

There will only be seed available to buy for the next few weeks, before the Spring flowers come on strong and the ground is ready to plant in. Take a look at what’s available on the Seed page which will be updated regularly. Some seeds will do best planted now e.g. sweetpeas while others need more light in mid Feb & March.

Email orders to address below and they can be delivered (or posted) to your door.

thedevelopingplot@gmail.com

Why Homesown Seeds?

This has felt the longest January with the cold and wet almost relentless. Just now and then, the sun and early flowers have broken up the gloom. Luckily, in a quiet time for growing, I have been able to distract myself with seeds.

White helichrysum seeds germinating

One of the most surprisingly dislocating aspects of the first Covid lockdown last year was how difficult it was to buy seeds and compost to sow them in. Of course, that is extremely minor in the whole experience, but it added to a sense of powerlessness. Research, patience and swapping with friends eventually sourced both, but it has made me think more about sustainability and waste and the millions of seeds and their potential which I have thrown on the compost heap without a thought.

Cleaning and sorting calendula seeds – all from just a few flower heads gathered in Autumn

During this lockdown I am learning a little more about the provenance of commercial seed and the way in which it has become a global enterprise with seed being produced, trialed and then packaged in different and distant countries, often China. Not only does this limit our choice as older varieties are lost, but it also means the seed we buy isn’t necessarily suited to our environment and local conditions. Much of the seeds we buy are F1 hybrids which means that seed does not come true the following year in the same way that open pollinated seed does. This means it is seed which can’t be reliably saved and so we need to buy it all over again every year instead of simply collecting and saving our own. So, in the light of this growing awareness, I have decided to save my own seed and sell it cheaply or ( when I can get back to the markets) swap it. No fancy packaging, but fresh, local seeds. Addicted to seed buying, I will also share some of the fresh seed bought this year from reputable companies – impossible (even for me) to use the thousands of seeds in some packets.

This lockdown too many of the seed companies I rely on, such as Seedaholic, are being overwhelmed with orders and are only accepting them at limited times. This seems another good reason to share seed around cheaply.

From seed to flowers and back again.

Saving seed is truly interesting aspect of growing to learn about and I can recommend the Vital Seed’s online course on seed saving as well as the advice on the Real Seeds website.

Some recommended reading.

Cleaning, sorting, counting and packaging seed is also a healthy distraction from grey thoughts and reading about how to do it is too.

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A Simple Guide to Making a Wreath (Part 1)

One of the things I enjoy doing most in Autumn and on the run up to Christmas is spending an afternoon with a good friend (and a glass of wine and some chocolate) making wreaths and talking non-stop. This year, we managed it only once before Lockdown 2 and for the next few weeks we are going to try to replicate this as best we can on Zoom. She asked for instructions and here they are in case they might be useful for you.

From Dried Materials

After taking part in more than a few wreath workshops and getting tangled up in willow and hazel, here is the most straightforward way I have found of making a wreath.

Materials needed: a wire wreath frame 10″ or 12″, florist’s binding reel wire, sustainably gathered moss, ingredients to decorate your wreath.

(If you are interested in buying any of these in a kit, take a look at the home page and email me: thedevelopingplot@gmail.com)

Making a mossed wreath base.

Whether you are making a wreath with dried or fresh elements, steps 1-3 are the same.

Step 1 : attach the binding wire to the base by twisting it around the outer hoop of the wreath frame.

Step 2: shape a handful of moss into a fat sausage shape and attach to the wreath base using the attached reel wire to bind it – you wrap the wire round and round it, moving in and out of the loop. Each time you do this, give the reel wire a small tug to make sure it secures the moss tightly enough. Leave around an inch or so between each round of the binding. Don’t be too stingy with the moss as you will need a good base to secure your ingredients later.

Step 3: take another clump of moss, shape it as before, overlap it slightly with the end of the first attached moss and use the reel wire to continue binding. Carry on until the whole wreath is covered with moss. When you have covered the whole ring, what you do next will depend on whether you are making a wreath out of dried or fresh ingredients.

Making a dried wreath

For a dried wreath, cut the wire leaving a length of around 3″; tie off the wire by slipping it a couple of times under one of the tight loops binding the moss; secure it by sticking the end of the wire back into the moss base. The base is now ready for you to poke dried ingredients into.

Suggested Ingredients

Seedheads, cones, dried flowers, grasses, twigs, branches and leaves are all excellent for adding to your base. Choose ingredients which have a firm enough stem to allow you to insert them into the moss without breaking.

You can plan in advance and dry material in the Summer and Autumn. Achillea, sedum, honest pods and old man’s beard are all good candidates, but if you lightly forage too, the choice is endless.

For a more conventional festive wreath, you can add cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices etc

Completed wreath with dried ingredients pushed into moss cushion base.

Sustainability

If a dried wreath is kept indoors and under cover, it will last for years and age gracefully. Once you have finished with it, the moss and dried elements can be composted and the wire ring reused.

To make the whole wreath compostable, you should replace the wire ring with a base of branches such as willow, hazel or silver birch and replace the reel wire by using string. Straw can also be used as an alternative to moss.

(A base made from scratch by bending willow, hazel or any other pliable stem needs practice as stems can crack and it can be difficult to bend them into a circle. If you would like to see how it is done, the best free guide I have watched is this one: Tuckshop Flowers).

Basic and Get You Started wreath boxes can be ordered and delivered or posted to you. Just email with your order.

Part 2: How to Make a Fresh Seasonal Wreath – coming soon.

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Homesown on Holiday!

Giving the flowers a break from cutting until the start of September when I will be accepting orders again as well as attending Sofacoma market. There will be dahlias, cosmos, beautiful grasses and seedheads and a range of lovely plants.

Cafe au Lait
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Six on Saturday: Spring?

A damp and grey Saturday after the bluest of blue sky periods. The warmth and extra light of the last few weeks has brought everything on at full pelt. The narcissus are jostling with the tulips which have arrived all of a sudden together with the fast growing leaves of the allium. It all feels a bit dizzying, but the return to seasonal weather now might slow the moment down.

This week’s six is starting off with the self seeders and multipliers which do my work for me and give me plants for free; though not always in the right place, most often they know where suits better than me. First is the shade tolerant, perky Geranium Bill Wallis, with its small and lovely purple flowers. I’ve grown it from seed again, but the self sown versions are bigger and stronger and ready to take over the path where it prefers growing through the stones. I would step around it, but as no one else will, it has been uprooted and potted up ready to be moved.

Bill Wallis happily growing through the stones

Next are the hellebores growing just outside the kitchen window which are slowly but determinedly colonising the bed. It has taken years from a few original plants, but they have increased year on year and will soon have taken over all the shady margins.

Hellebores mixing

Third are is the gentle yellow, cheering primrose which has taken a liking to the middle of the East facing bed. Starting off from one there are now lots and maybe this is the year I finally remember to divide and lift them.

Primrose and cerinthe (another self seeder)

Fourth spot goes to the most prolific self seeder of all: the blue forget me not which never truly goes away despite my partner’s stealthy weeding of them. I love them in their prime as a sea of blue and forgive them their scruffiness at other times. Early days in the garden, I was worried they would get weeded to extinction – now realise that is close to impossible. Good.

Before too long there will be blue

Next are just some of the seeds sown by me growing on window sills, greenhouse shelves and just emerging on the heating mat. Peas, tomatoes and flowers.

Last is the quince tree in the corner of the garden lighting up a dank morning with its sparkle of green buds.

Quince

That’s it, but over at The Propagator there is sure to be lots of interest.

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